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The Lying Experiment

By Ashley Price
Research Question: Can people tell when other people are lying?
Hypothesis: I believe that the older a human is, the more likely they will be able to tell if
someone is lying. It is well known that when when most people lie they have a variety of
nervous symptoms: they shake, sweat, avoid eye contact, facial expressions, vocal tension, and
many more. As people get older and come in contact with new people, their ability to identify
these nervous habits strengthens.
Materials: Video camera, different ages of people, chair, computer (to edit the clips and record
data), a list of simple questions
Method: Have your subject sit down in a chair in front of the video camera. Turn the video
camera on and record the subject answering a variety of simple questions (i.e., What is your
favorite TV show? What is your favorite food? What is your favorite color?). Instruct the subject
to lie about their answers to a few of the questions. Repeat this same process with all of the
subjects (there should be at least 3, and they should be all different ages/genders). Next, take
all of the footage and edit it into a video that contains only all of the subjects answers (aka edit
out your voice). Once this video is completed, have the new subjects sit down in separate
rooms and record them watching each of the video subjects saying their answers. After each
question has been answered by all of the subjects in the video, ask the new subject which
person they believe was lying. Record data on a spreadsheet. Repeat this process for all of the
subjects (there should be at least three and they should all be different ages/genders). After all
subjects have finished, take the video footage and edit it together into a video that accurately
portrays the experiment.
Control Group: people who told the truth
Experimental Group: person who lied
Variables:
Independent: untrue answers
Dependent: people watching the videos guesses
Controlled: Same researcher, same equipment, same questions, same video,

Data Collection and Analysis:

Color:

Animal:

Food:

Day:

TV Show:

Aaron:

Tessa

Ally/Alexa

Tessa

Tessa

Ally/Alexa

Rosemary:

Tessa

Ally/Alexa

Ally/Alexa

Ally/Alexa

Sebastian

Luke:

Tessa

Ally/Alexa

Ally/Alexa

Ally/Alexa

Tessa

Danica:

Tessa

Ally/Alexa

Ally/Alexa

Tessa

Ally/Alexa

For the first two questions, all of Group 2 had the same guesses; all of them were correct. On
the third question, the 14 year old was the only person who had a different guess. For the fourth
question, the 14 year old boy and the 7 year old girl had the same guess, and the 11 year old
girl and the 10 year old boy had the same guess. On the final question, the trend of the 14 year
old boy and 7 year old girl having the same guess continued; but the other two subjects had
different guesses from each other.
Conclusion:
My research shows that despite a persons age or gender, they will never be fully
capable of identifying lies vs the truth. The subjects in Group 2 ranged in ages from seven to
fourteen, and not a single subject was able to identify the lie to every question. The two subjects
who were able to identify the most correct answers were the 14 year old boy and the 7 year old
girl, eliminating any correlation between identifying untruthful answers and age or gender.